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Navigating Life’s Crises

POSTED May 26, 2009 4:43 p.m.
Navigating Life’s Crises
By JAKE CUMMINS
Did you know Wikipedia has an entry for the “quarter-life crisis”? There are very acute symptoms and qualifiers for this seemingly normal event; and great detail has been given to what one might experience during this period of ‘psychological unrest.’ In addition, it lists a plethora of causes and reasons for ordinary young adults to experience the ‘crisis’ and how the current economic system of extreme competitiveness and Catch-22’s can lead to a subpar job, financially rooted stress, and an undesirable standard of living after graduation.
Isn’t that how it’s supposed to be?
I mean, I assumed it was one of those unquestionable norms that you didn’t magically get an awesome career, decent living salary, and tacked on benefits right out of the university gates. Especially in my field, for a stable career there’s a higher degree, previous years of hard experience, and a few thousand supervised hours you need to have; (which you don’t). Sure it’s annoying, but it’s not supposed to be a cake-walk.
Then again, I’m all for playing the role of the victim! I’m a huge fan of having excuses and other things to blame when I’m not successful at the things I strive for! (Please note the saturated sarcasm contained herein). This is just another thing that people need to do for themselves. If I need to work a job I’m overqualified for just to get a few years of experience, fine. If the dream company I apply to shoots me down, I will reapply. Sure it’s not ideal, but there’s no reason to make yourself into a victim. (How’d you like my bootstraps speech?) Everybody gets knocked on their rear at times, deal with it.
Speaking of rears, and subsequently falling on them, I have a fantastic dodge ball story for you. Because serious sports are completely overrated, a few friends and myself signed up for an intramural dodge ball league a month or so back. The season is coming to an end, but we’ve got a good shot at taking home the gold. (Or T-shirts, as I think that’s what the first place prizes are.)
We were getting beaten badly in the final game of last week’s matchup. It was down to myself and a friend versus these four guys who looked like they could break a sequoia in half. (I demanded their urinalysis results postgame.) For whatever reason, I was squatting as one of those walking muscles was winding up a straight shot. Intending to look slick, I started to jump up and backwards thinking the ball would fly underneath me. That’s not how it went down.
What did happen was Hercules’ aim was true, and as I was midair, I caught the ball mid-chest with enough force to drop a grizzly. (I may exaggerate.) Since I was airborne at this moment in time, the ball-catch altered my trajectory. I landed back on Earth with a spine-straightening thwack; and all the air in the world disappeared. My teammate could no longer play, as she was crying from laughter on the ground. However, a more useful teammate (who re-entered the game upon my “catch”) caught himself a ball as well; and eventually the match went to us.
Dodge ball is serious business. It’s just too bad there were no recordings of the event, and my grand scheme to win America’s Funniest Home Videos was thwarted once again.
Basically, life is a bit of a waiting game right now; and the softballs and dodge balls are a convenient distraction. Even though the ‘rigorous, lengthy’ and ‘harsh’ art history papers have me at wits end sometimes, smacking people in the face with a plastic cannonball is just a satisfying feeling that you really shouldn’t be able to enjoy this much after elementary school. (Yes, I know the face is illegal. But don’t deny you’ve rocketed one off once or twice!)
And so as the majority of our graduating class is scrambling for summer housing, commencement ceremony announcements, and a way of dealing with their respective quarter-life crises, I feel it’s important to just take it as it comes and not lose precious sanity. Too many things are happening that require a calm, cool, and collected me right about now, and I can’t afford to go running around like a chicken-minus-head.
With that said, it’s our special time of the week to go lose a game of softball. Last week we fielded and finished an entire game despite only having five players. Hopefully our numbers will swell at this week’s game, because one person covering the entire outfield and sometimes third never seems to work out favorably.
Hope you had a satisfying three-day weekend Oakdale. And may your various life crises be manageable and short-lived.

Jake Cummins served as a summer intern for The Oakdale Leader and now attends UC Santa Cruz. Look for his columns the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month, as he keeps us up to date on his college experiences. He can be reached at jecummin@UCSC.edu

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